After announcing on Thursday a historic normalization deal between Israel and Morocco, Israeli officials said they believe that the Sultanate of Oman will be the next country to formalize ties with Israel, Yediot Acharonot reported on Sunday.
If a deal with Muscat is reached, it would be the fifth Muslim-majority nation to establish diplomatic relations with Israel over the last four months, after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
On Friday, Oman welcomed Morocco’s announcement that it was establishing diplomatic ties with Israel and hoped the move would strengthen efforts towards a lasting and just peace in the Middle East, its Foreign Ministry said.
“[Oman] welcomes what Morocco’s King Mohammed VI announced in his phone calls with U.S President Trump and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and hopes this will further endeavours to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East,” the statement said, without specifically mentioning what had been announced.
U.S. and Israeli officials have previously suggested that Oman could be another possible candidate for normalization.
For his part, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said that the ultimate prize of getting Saudi Arabia to establish public ties with Israel was only “a matter of time.”
Officials in Yerushalayim, quoted in the Yediot report, said the Saudis could announce a normalization deal with Israel before Joe Biden takes office on January 20.
A number of Israeli officials said that the Saudis played a major role in U.S.-Morocco talks, and pressured Rabat to renew diplomatic relations with Israel.
In October 2018 Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a rare visit to Oman, an Arab state with which Israel has no diplomatic ties, and met with its late leader Sultan Qaboos.
According to the Yediot report, Israel is also in talks with other Muslim countries including Niger, Mali, Djibouti, Mauritania and Comoros in Africa, and Indonesia, Pakistan, Brunei, Bangladesh and the Maldives in Asia on opening diplomatic relations.